Project iWA: Studio '23
Imagine your complete home studio cable-free. Wirelessly connect your operating system to your monitor speakers. Play and record wirelessly through your headphones and microphone. Add the sounds of your synths and keyboards and record in high quality without latency.....
The next generation for mobile music makers
Needless to say, when you can implement iWA in your home studio, a new world of mobile music making opens up too. Along with all the great features, apps and computing power provided by today's smart devices, iWA technology adds a new level of convenience, without compromising on sound quality.
Finally, you can take full advantage of the portability of your iPad, laptop and other mobile devices and create that perfect wireless environment for making music. Anytime, anywhere.
WIDI: Advanced wireless MIDI by CME
Exactly 3 years ago, WIDI technology launched with its first concept of the premium Bluetooth MIDI adapter, WIDI Master. Today, more than 50,000 units have been sold worldwide and the WIDI family has expanded to 6 members.
Based on this experience, you can now participate in the next adventure, project iWA. In previous blogs you have already learned that Bluetooth is not considered a possible solution for wire-free low-latency audio in your studio.
That's why our engineers have been working around the clock to research and develop a totally new technology. With iWA, you can send and receive 24-bit/48kHz audio in lossless stereo and build the studio of the future....
Introducing: iWA Core
If you have followed the development of WIDI over the past three years, you may have noticed that all WIDI devices are based on the same core element, WIDI Core.
With the WIDI roadmap in mind, and based on the feedback received in the previous phases, it is now time to make the iWA project a reality.
Therefore, iWA Core is introduced today. This is the centre of project iWA. The idea is that this chipset contains the premium firmware and advanced wireless audio technology that can be easily implemented in any kind of solution or future product.
In this way, your voice becomes very relevant. With your input, it will be possible to start creating real products based on the needs of the public, people like you.
Moreover, iWA Core makes it easy for any developer, large or small, to collaborate to make iWA the new standard in wireless audio. Together, we can propel iWA forward at a speed no company can do alone....
Poll: iWA products
As explained during Phase 2, community input has greatly changed the development path.
The consideration of moving from a simple wireless monitor speaker to a more widely applicable TX/RX solution has already brought us to the point of developing iWA Core.
Yet today, your opinion still matters. The big question is what you think our focus should be? That's why you can join our Facebook Group and share your feedback in this simple poll.
iWA ultra-low latency wireless audio
As with WIDI, the goal of CME is to provide you with a new technology that is as widely applicable as possible. Following the input received from the community, the specifications can be best described as follows:
- Wireless technology: iWA ultra-low latency
- Audio latency: less than 5ms
- Audio quality: 24-bit / 48kHz, stereo, uncompressed
- Continuous playing time: 24+ hours
- Accessible pricing
The above specification and the desire to make iWA technology widely applicable led to the design of the iWA development console.
Without revealing too many sensitive details, this module is capable of testing iWA technology in a wide variety of situations. This makes it possible to research and develop prototypes in relation to both digital and analog audio solutions.
Next goal is 5,000 registrants
Project iWA was created to bring you ultra-low latency wireless audio without compromising sound quality and playability at an affordable and accessible price.
To date, 3,000 fellow enthusiasts have signed up to participate in this project. Today is the time to announce the next step to make this reality.
Because audio is not MIDI and the world of high-quality audio requires a lot of power to make a difference, we need your energy to get things done.
The first real iWA product will be announced when 5,000 active registrants participate in the project. Feel welcome to share this message on forums, groups and any other way to invite your music-making friends to join in.
Upon introduction, you will get a 40% discount on the first batch of iWA products!
Together we make it happen.
Goal 1 reached on 4th of July 2022
Goal 2 reached on 25th of December 2022
Phase 3 announced on 26th of December 2022
Great project 🤙
Waiting for testing in my home studio 😁
Fantastic!! So glad you decided to focus on the iWA Core first. Is it too early to estimate an MSRP? I’m definitely picking some up either way!
Yes, that is too early 😉
This is a real game-changer and much more versatile for incorporation into new/existing monitor setups, really looking forward to being able to grab a few for testing!
Good to hear this!!
Glad you are starting with the trans and rec core units,
sales will be much greater than the speakers.The market place is flooded with good wireless speakers but not with core trans and rec modules
Maybe, but all those speakers either are wired or have latency 😉
An universal TX/RX Dongle is great, but on the sample PCB picture I’m missing digital in- and outputs…
Thanks for taking the time to respond. You can see how iWA Core can be implemented in the test unit later in the blog. There you can see digital audio connections. Hope this helps.
I was thinking that you should advertise the environmental benefits…. Just think of how much hi grade copper and rare metals will be saved on not using cables and connectors… I have literally a garage full form the last 40+ years.. And i still buy more..
Good suggestion! Thanks!!!
Getting rid of cables is a wonderful promise… One more advantage is that you are not susceptible to analog noise, which is a pain when using (for example) analog mic with long cables, even with symmetric (eg XLR) cables. Count me in as a fan ! But all this triggers a lot of questions: “how many ‘channels’ could the iWA technology simultaneously support ?” and “how immune are the wireless channels to other digital or analog sources of noise or disconnection?” It obviously has to be very reliable. Also, I see that the modules are not powered by external cables (or that would mean replacing audio cables with power cables…) but by rechargeable batteries. If that’s the case how long can they last when used under heavy-duty charge ? The minimum duration should be 24 hours under heavy-duty load, but the longer the better, obviously. And what about non-dynamic (condenser, electret,…) microphones, they would still need a cable for the phantom power, wouldn’t they ?
Thanks for taking the time to comment and provide useful feedback. The basic idea is to offer a stereo solutions, that is two channels in lossless 24-bit / 48 kHz. This means there will be no codec or compression that will influence the audio quality.
Two other targets are low power consumption and less sensitive for interference. That is why we take it out of the 2.4 gHz range used for Bluetooth and WiFi.
All the rest is a step by step process. First we need to focus on a reliable point-to-point solution that delivers what we are aiming for.
From there we can progress…
Please note, we are not aiming to change things like phantom power and such…that is outside the scope of this project.
Will this work in reverse? IE: Sending a signal from a dynamic/passive microphone to an audio interface? If so, Is there be a +48 volts module under consideration? I’m not sure how it’s done with 3 volts, but I know there are xlr input dongles that run on 2 AA batteries, that provide phantom power.
We are currently focussing on a TX/RX solution first. Providing a phantom power solution is not our top priority. We have to taker this project step by step. Hope this helps.
Xvive U3C already achieves this for phantom powering condenser mics over wireless. They have a dynamic version too.
Thanks for sharing it. We are well connected with the kind people of Xvive. Actually their MD-1 is our WIDI Master 😉
I just searched for the U3C, it is very interesting. I’ll share it internally.
Thanks a lot!!!
Stereo transmitter/receiver is a must!!
I hope it won’t be in 2,4ghz range, because this band is way to crowded already
Since audio via USB is already available simultaneously alongside the MIDI signal, can you impliment MIDI alongside the stereo audio send/receive signal? A dongle would be nice but can you impliment somehing like the MIOXM that can do this wirelessly? https://www.iconnectivity.com/mioxm
I think we already offer that with WIDI: https://www.cme-pro.com/widi-premium-bluetooth-midi/
Or do I misunderstand your request?
I guess I am looking for the Widi Thru6 with stereo audio support. Both being accessed wirelessly.
Ah! You mean like a wireless audio + midi interface. I think we have to take this step by step. First make sure iWA technology becomes as excellent as WIDI technology. Next, we can research to combine it!
Stereo audio over MIDI but I would think this would require loads of processor speed and memory to accomplish effectively. I could see a cellphone sized device but not something as small as a thumb drive. Even then, I would use something like this to accomplish recording audio especially outdoors.
Thanks for sharing. I am not sure what you mean. Audio and MIDI are two different things. What we’ve developed before is wireless MIDI over Bluetooth. Also named Bluetooth MIDI and in our case WIDI.
What we are now developing is iWA. It is about wireless audio. Because audio requires a larger bandwidth for wireless transmission, it can not be done for people who require low latency. That is why with iWA we focus on a different technology that is able to operate with a much larger bandwidth.
WIFI is extremely bad for your health. Please do research or read about the research that has already been done. Most of the ‘real’ research has been blocked from coming to ‘light’, for obvious reasons. EMF is harmful to health.
Thanks for sharing your concerns. EMF is produced by all electronic devices. Including the one you just used to type this post 😉
I understand that some people are concerned about electronics and wireless technology. I imagine that if this is a serious concern for you, today’s world becomes quite a challenge. At the same time, I do not share these concerns. If I did, I would not be part of this project.
That said, I am not an engineer or a doctor, so I am always open to the possibility that I am ignorant 😉
Essentially this is not a bad thing. We can agree to disagree. That’s why it’s good to have an open discussion about it with you.
First of all, this is not about Wi-Fi. iWA does not work in that frequency range either. Secondly, as a developer, there are all sorts of rules and legislation that have to be applied and approved to even be allowed to market a wireless product. Like transmission strength and type of antenna, many elements are subject to international and local regulations.
I think almost all countries require certificates when using wireless technology, batteries and other technology. And getting those certificates does not come easy. It requires all kind or reports and other forms of proof. This can be different per country too.
From that perspective, and with all that legislation in place worldwide, I disagree that this kind of information is not visible or transparent. It’s there, smart people have researched it and came up with policies. Those policymakers and all those engineers may not all agree. That’s normal, it leads to consensus.
For us, it means taking all these guidelines into account when developing new products. From my humble perspective, Bluetooth technology and this iWA technology is in no way powerful enough to harm people.
I hope this helps to put things in perspective.
Have you talked to AiAiAi ? They offer a low latency headphone (16ms constant latency). I think having the same latency all the time is an important part
Thanks for the information. We have seen what they offer. I have not tried their solution and I am not an engineer. Personally, I think what they offer is already very good, but expensive.
You are right, the variation in latency is very important. It’s called jitter. And especially in real-time monitoring, this accuracy is as important as low latency itself.
First, no wireless technology can guarantee constant latency. There will always be some variation. This is the case even in a wired situation.
The biggest problem with both Bluetooth and W+ (AIAIA) is that they still operate in the 2.4 GHz range. That is a crowded range, prone to interference and with limited bandwidth. While both try to provide solutions, at their core they do not solve the problem.
Stability on 2.4GHz depends on how lucky you are. If there are not many 2.4GHz devices nearby, or if your signal is stronger than others, you can use it without any problems. If you are not lucky, you will get poorer audio quality, or much higher latency and jitter.
Bear in mind that sending lossless audio requires about 1mb/s, the 2.4gHz bandwidth has 1.5mb/s available. That means there is limited room for error correction. If something goes wrong with the wireless transmission, for example if the bandwidth is greatly reduced due to interference, it is impossible to correct the error and retransmit.
iWA is different. It does not operate in the 2.4 GHz range. It has a much larger bandwidth available and uses a different way to transmit data. That’s how it can correct errors on the fly. So, less interference, and higher bandwidth. That’s how iWA can deliver higher quality with lower latency and jitter than Bluetooth and any other 2.4GHz solution.
I hope this helps and we’ll keep our ears open for AIAIA.
I’m really looking forward to this product. It might not only revolutionize the way we work in the studio, but outside of it as well – on stage (IEMs) and on film sets (wireless lav systems). Seems really promising 🙂
We take one step at the time 😉
The lack of low latency uncompressed wireless audio (headphones) is the bane of my existence in the studio. I am SO TIRED of dealing with my 20 ft headphone cable getting all wound up and bent out of shape. It literally keeps me out of my studio. I am often lamenting why there hasn’t been more technological progress on this front. I so hope this project is a game changer in that regard. I can’t wait to be able to walk around my studio while only being tethered to a receiver that (hopefully) fits in my pocket.
This is an absolute game changer!